UK-based architectural firm RMJM has been chosen to design a major US$90m research and development centre for pharmaceutical company Genzyme Corp in Beijing.

The plant will focus on research into orthopaedics, transplant and immune diseases among other things and will be built to new ‘green’ standards, with a focus on designing for laboratory-scale operations in cell therapy and polyclonal antibody operations.

Genzyme says China is a growth market identified as part of its global expansion and that its architecturally-designed laboratory will feature innovative green features with an emphasis on the health and working environment of Genzyme employees.

“The company intends to seek certification for the building with the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system,” Genzyme says.

It will follow in the footstep of Genzyme’s headquarters – the Genzyme Centre in Cambridge, US, which has achieved the highest LEED rating.

The centre will be situated in Zhongguancun Life Science Park in Beijing – an area designed for research institutions.

“The 200,000ft² building will be consutructed with low-impact environmental techniques and methods, and will incorporate a range of environmentally responsible features, including a living roof to reduce pollution caused by storm water runoff, a solar thermal system that will provide a significant portion of the building’s hot water and reduce its energy consumption and low-flow fixtures to limit water usage,” Genzyme says.

The centre will have an all-glass exterior, with a large auditorium for employee meetings as well as an exterior garden area.

The building is expected to be complete in 2010.

By Penny Jones